Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Texas Senate Passes Major Ethics Legislation

The Texas Senate today passed a strong ethics bill.  SB14 passed by a vote of 31-0 and is on its way to the House.  The bill, while generally supported by reform groups, lacks a number of fundamental reform provisions long-advocated by TPJ.  Here is TPJ's statement on the bill:

"The Senate took a first step down the trail to a little-less corruption in Texas.  We encourage the House to follow the Senate's path but do a little bit better.  Texas ethics laws remain riddled with deep chasms and dark holes that still need to be filled." 

Read a summary of the bill from the Star-Telegram's Dave Montgomery.
Read Jay Root's story on the bill's passage in the Texas Tribune

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Look Back at Rick Perry

As former Gov. Rick Perry's U.S. Senate confirmation hearing approaches, we  are re-posting several of our major reports on Perry's tenure as governor.  You can view a list of all of the 130-plus TPJ postings relating to Perry by scrolling down the right-hand column of the home page and clicking on the "Rick Perry" label.

The Rick Perry Primer 

Our 2011 background report documenting Perry's many conflicts and controversies.

Perry Top-Donor:  Nuclear Waste Dumpster

Lobby Watch Report:  Nuclear Compact With the Devil?
Lobby Watch Report:  Don't Trash Texas Until Your Give Perry $1.1 Million.
Lobby Watch Report:  Waste Kingpin's $$ Predicts Nuke Dump Support.

Perry's Enterprise Fund Con Job

TPJ has documented the many shortcomings of Perry's economic development funds.
Lobby Watch Report: Texas Big Three Bag Enterprise-Fund Millions.
Con Job: Report Finds Most Texas Enterprise Fund Grantees Failed to Deliver in 2010

Report: Enterprise Fund Grantees Give $7 Million: Rick Perry's Piggybank.

Perry and the Texas Lobby

TPJ Shark Week reports documented connections between Perry and Texas lobbyists.
Report One:  Perry's Roomie Toomey Mobilizes the Corporate Lobby.
Report Two:  Governor Runs Farm Team for Lobbyists.
Report Three:  Perry Appointees Morph Into Lobbyists.

Perry's Criminal Indictments

Fact-sheet on Rick Perry criminal indictments, June 2015.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the charges against Perry in a pretrial ruling in February 2016.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lobby Watch: Apache's Oil Find Exceeds Its Political Heft

The top political recipients of money from the Houston company that announced a giant West Texas oil discovery last fall are surprisingly bipartisan and notably exclude Gov. Abbott. 

A new Lobby Watch fracks the political funds underlying the 'Alpine High' oil find, which environmentalists say endangers Balmorhea's fabled San Solomon Springs desert oasis.

Read the new Lobby Watch.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Revisiting Rick Perry's Corporate Welfare Giveaways

Alex MacGillis at ProPublica takes a look at
 Rick Perry’s Texas Giveaways.

Read TPJ's 2010 report on Perry's Enterprise Fund grants.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lobby Watch: Warren's Pipeline Giant Inflated Pols with $2.7 million

The gas pipeline giant sparking protests in the Dakotas and West Texas gave $2.7 million to Texas state politicians in recent years, while spending $1.7 million on Texas lobbyists.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Railroad Commissioners Awash in Oil & Gas Money

Texas’ three sitting Railroad Commissioners raised more than $11 million in recent years, taking 60 percent of it from the oil and gas industry that they’re elected to regulate, a new study by Texans for Public Justice, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club's Lone Star Chapter finds.

The report, “Rigged: How the Texas Oil and Gas Industry Bankrolls Its Own Regulators,” analyzes campaign contributions to the incumbent commissioners and to the four candidates who faced off to replace retiring Commissioner David Porter. Wayne Christian, who prevailed in Tuesday's election took 65 percent of his campaign money from the industry he will regulate. 

Read the full media release here.
Read the report:

Rigged: How the Texas Oil and Gas Industry Bankrolls Its Own Regulators.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Texas Treasure, 'Smitty' to Mosey Down Happy Trails.

Lobbyist for the Small Fry Hangs It Up.  By Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune.

Tom “Smitty” Smith, a colorful lobbyist and liberal activist who turned Public Citizen Texas into a strong voice on environmental, utility, consumer and ethics issues, is hanging up his spurs after 31 years. “The thing that I learned time after time, story after story, is that people standing up does make a difference,” he says.
Read the full story at the Texas Tribune.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NY Times: Success of the Voter Fraud Myth

How does a lie come to be widely taken as the truth?

The answer is disturbingly simple: Repeat it over and over again. When faced with facts that contradict the lie, repeat it louder.

This, in a nutshell, is the story of claims of voting fraud in America — and particularly of voter impersonation fraud, the only kind that voter ID laws can possibly prevent.

Read the full editorial at the New York Times.
                                                                                                             (Emiliano Ponzi)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Paxton In Federal Court as Legal Woes Persist

Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will argue Friday morning in a Sherman courtroom that the federal civil fraud case against him should be dismissed, their latest effort to unwind the legal troubles that have dogged Paxton for more than a year.

Read the full story at Texas Tribune.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Paxton Took Cash From Company Under Investigation

From Paul Weber of the Associated Press:
Texas Attorney General Took Gift While Investigating Company.